Iran said on Thursday that it is discussing with several global industrial giants over investments in the country’s key mining projects.
Mehdi Karbasian, the managing director of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO), has been quoted by the media as saying that discussions to the same effect are already taking place with Australia’s Rio Tinto as well as European giants Glencore, Trafigura, and Aurubis.
“Glencore and China’s NFC already have business agreements to help develop Iran’s copper industry, Karbasian said earlier this year. Iran hopes to raise its copper concentrates output to as much as 2 million mt/year by 2025 in conjunction with partners, from some 200,000 mt/year at present, as part of a national development plan,” Karbasian has been quoted as telling the reporters in Berlin by Platts.
The annual value of Iran’s mining and metals imports and exports only amount to $11.5 billion at the moment, but following the lifting of sanctions the country has ambitious plans saying potential revenues from the sector could be worth more than crude oil, Platts added.
According to Imidro, Iran’s copper reserves accounts for 4% of the world’s total or roughly 2.6 billion tonnes and the country’s production represent 75% of the total for the Middle-East. National Iranian Copper Industries Company is listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange and is the country’s top non-oil exporter.
The country is also a leading lead and zinc producer and ranks number four in Asia behind China, Kazakhstan and India in terms of production. Iran’s zinc reserves are the world’s largest.
There are only 15 operating gold mines in Iran, but expanding precious metal mining received a boost in November 2014 with the commissioning of the Middle-East’s largest gold processing plant at the Zareh Shuran mine in the West Azerbaijan province to boost production from less than 30,000oz to over 200,000oz per year, Platts added.